South Africa is loud. Listen. Do you hear the song and dance of it? The chorus of Khayelitsha life? Every voice is different, its pitch and tone and intonation as distinct as the words we choose and how we wrap our mouths around them. But everybody has a voice, and everybody sings…
Fifteen year old Neo loves music, it punctuates her life and shapes the way she views the world. A life in radio is all she’s ever wanted.
When Umzi Radio broadcasts live in a nearby bar Neo can’t resist. She sneaks out to see them, and she falls in love, with music, and the night, but also with a girl: Tale has a voice like coffee poured into a bright steel mug, and she commands the stage.
It isn’t normal. Isn’t right. Neo knows that she’s supposed to go to school and get a real job and find a nice young boy to settle down with. It’s written everywhere – in childhood games, and playground questions, in the textbooks, in her parents’ faces. But Tale and music are underneath her skin, and try as she might, she can’t stop thinking about them.
How did I get the book? Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Contemporary / LGBTQIA
Previously reviewed: The Last Leaves Falling
Review: I’ve always found that writing reviews for books that you passionately love is harder. How many different ways can you say excellent, amazing, breath-taking, shattering (in the best possible way), phenomenal, incredible and unbelievably wonderful?
Fox Benwell has a magic way with words. Nearly every sentence feels like it could stand as a beautiful quote on its own. (I tried to note the quotes and before I reached the halfway mark the book was just overflowing with sticky-notes.) As they add up to paragraphs and pages you become so enthralled in this world that you can easily forget it’s not real. That the rhythm you feel and hear isn’t there, the sounds and smells you’ve convinced yourself are around you are just conjured up by the words on the page. It’s an amazing feet and one that I don’t find often.
When you then add Neo, Tale, Cap, Zee, Jed, Janet and Jeso; each one not a character but a person – you’ve lost yourself. In love, music, friendship and betrayal. I can actually count the number of books that have made me truly cry one a single hand. Fox Benwell has written two of them, I’ve reviewed over 750. That’s a lot of stories but one author to manage to make me loose myself so completely in a story.
Kaleidoscope Song is without a shadow of a doubt one of my favourite books this year.
See me live-tweet my reading of Kaleidoscope Song: https://storify.com/lunaslibrary/readingkaleidoscopesong